Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Is it Magic, or is it Aikido?

Derren Brown is a man who meddles with people's minds. In one of his TV shows he apparently made a young woman 'unliftable'. Well, so it seems. In Ki Aikido we have a number of training exercises in which we too become seemingly unliftable.

In the 19th Century a certain lady who went by the name of Annie May Abbott, but was more popularly known as the “Georgia Magnet” performed a series of amazing stunts in music halls which included, among other things, her 'supernatural' ability to increase her weight at will so that strong men could not lift her. Now whether the Georgia Magnet was using the same method as Derren Brown and whether either of them used the same method as we use in Aikido I cannot say. All I can say for sure is that, by mastering a few arts of relaxation and body control, almost anyone could create the same effect.

In fact, I wrote an article about The Georgian Magnet and the Aikido 'unraisable body' method for the benefit of some magician friends some years back. If you are interested, you can read it here:

Meanwhile, this is the Derren Brown version...

Friday, 4 July 2014

Aiki weapons workshop next Tuesday

Just a reminder that there is no aikido class on Monday (7th July) but Sensei Small will be teaching an aiki-weapons class on Tuesday (8th July) at 7:30.

Friday, 27 June 2014

Memories of Koichi Tohei, David Currie and Aikido in Italy

I just came across a batch of old photos that I hadn't seen in years. These are of the visit our Aikido Club made in 1987 to Florence, Italy (see here) to study at a seminar with Koichi Tohei Sensei. Great memories...  if anyone who was there happens to see this blog post, please get in touch. And if you have more photos, well, I'd love to see them!

Me posing as a white belt (I think I was brown belt at the time?)

Dermot (still to be found at the Hartland Club). He had only recently started aikido but decided to come along anyway - a wise choice as this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

My teacher, David Currie (foreground left, smiling at camera) and his wife Sue alongside. Various other old aikido chums (Maurice at centre back, Dennis, looking at camera on right). Happy days!

Friday, 20 June 2014

Hartland Aikido Club T-shirt!

The Hartland Aikido Club now has a T-shirt! If you'd like to order one, talk to Sensei Huw when you come along to class....

Friday, 30 May 2014

Kumi-jo Aikido Workshop in Bucks Cross

Sensei Small (4th dan Iwama) will be teaching a kumi-jo workshop at the Hartland Aikido Club in Bucks Cross Village Hall (between Bideford and Bude) on Tuesday June 3rd. There will be no class on Monday June 2nd. Everyone is welcome to attend Sensei Small's workshop. If you practise with some other Aikido club, you will be very welcome - so please come along and join us for the evening. The class starts at 7:30.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Thoughts on the Nature of Aikido

I happened to notice these two short videos in which Saganuma Sensei discusses elements of aikido and its practice. They are, I think, worth watching. I hope you find them of interest.

The Basics are The Ultimate Secrets...

Attitude in Training...

Monday, 19 May 2014

Sankyo in Aikido

Sankyo is one of those core Aikido techniques that can give newcomers (or even people who've been practising for a few years) real problems. The main problem is not the sankyo grip itself but how to retain control throughout the technique. Often people 'take off' the sankyo as they pull down the arm, thereby making the technique ineffective. I encourage my students to practise the sankyo control as two separate movements: 1) rotate the arm around the pivot point established by the sankyo grip close to the wrist. Only then 2) point the arm towards the ground to move the uke.

Experienced practitioners take the uke down in a single movement - that is, they both rotate around the pivot-point and simultaneously take the arm down towards the floor. But in my experience beginners find this too complicated  to master as a single movement, which is why I encourage them to learn sankyo in the two steps outlined above.

Today I came across an alternative way of explaining the sankyo control. In this video (one of an excellent series made by the New York Aikikai), the instructor comments on the similarity between the sankyo 'cut' and a sword cut. "I don't want to point the fingers down and cut with the butt of the sword," he says, "I want to try to cut out with the tip and the elbow of the sword."

If you are having problems with sankyo, this video is worth watching...